The Belmont Stakes is right around the corner, and it signifies an end to the five weeks of racing that brings you the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes as the first two legs of the Triple Crown. There have only been 13 horses to win the Triple Crown. Justify completed the feat last year after American Pharoah broke a 37-year drought in 2015.
This year we get the rare chance to potentially see history again with the odds-on favorite Justify having already won the first two legs of the Triple Crown. Besides that exciting possibility, there are plenty of other interesting things that go along with this historic race. Here is a look at some facts about past Belmont Stakes, as well as this year’s edition.
Location – Belmont Park in Elmont, New York
Date –Saturday, June 8th
Distance – 1 ½ mile dirt track
Horses – 3-year-old thoroughbred colts and geldings
TV & Post Time – 6:48 PM ET on NBC
Race – 151st running, first ran in 1867, oldest of the Triple Crown races
Nickname – “Test of the Champions” and “Run for the Carnations”
Stretch Run – 1,097 feet from last turn to finish line
Crowd – Belmont Park can hold 90,000 fans including the infield, with seating for 32,941
Fastest Time – 2:24:00 held be Secretariat in 1973 (World Record for 1 ½ mile on dirt)
Biggest Win – 31 lengths held by Secretariat in 1973 (World Record for 1 ½ mile)
Last Years Champion – Tapwrit
Prize Money – $1,500,000 ($800,000 to the winner)
The Belmont Stakes trophy is a Tiffany-made silver bowl measuring 18 inches high, 15 inches across and 14 inches at the base. A silver figure of Fenian, winner of the Belmont Stakes in 1869, sits atop the cover of the bowl, and the bowl itself is supported by three horses representing the three foundation Thoroughbreds; Eclipse, Herod and Matchem.
This is when the trophy is presented and when fans are encouraged to sing along to the theme from New York, New York. This is very similar to the singing of “Old Kentucky Home” at the Kentucky Derby and “Maryland, My Maryland” at the Preakness Stakes. The winning horse is also draped in carnations, which explains the nickname “Run for the Carnations”.